At least two people were killed and 27 injured in Chad on Tuesday as demonstrators took to the streets demanding a return to civilian rule after the military took control following President Idriss Deby’s death last week.
A woman died on Tuesday when anti-military protesters attacked a bus in N’Djamena, while a man was killed during demonstrations in the south of the country, prosecutors said.
“The demonstrators attacked a bus in the Dembe district, some passengers fled but a woman remained and was killed by the protesters,” N’Djamena prosecutor Youssouf Tom told AFP news agency.
Tuesday’s unrest underscores the tense atmosphere in Chad following Deby’s death with the military transition already struggling to win over a population exhausted by 30 years of monolithic rule.
The ruling military council seized power after Deby was killed as he visited troops fighting rebels on April 19.
A spokesman for the council said security forces were attempting to contain the protesters while limiting material damage.
Some opposition politicians have called the military takeover a coup and asked supporters to protest, even as the army appointed a civilian politician, Albert Pahimi Padacke, as prime minister of a transitional government on Monday.
The military council banned protests in a statement Monday, saying no demonstrations that could lead to disorder were allowed while the country was still in mourning.
The military council, headed by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Deby, who was declared president, has said it will oversee an 18-month transition to elections.
Police responded with tear gas as protesters burned tyres in several neighbourhoods of N’Djamena early on Tuesday.
A Reuters news agency witness said firefighters struggled to contain the blaze that was large enough to be seen from several neighbourhoods away.
“We do not want our country to become a monarchy,” said 34-year-old protester Mbaidiguim Marabel. “The military must return to the barracks to make way for a civil transition.”
Trucks loaded with soldiers were seen patrolling the streets around central N’Djamena.
“The police came, they fired tear gas, but we are not scared,” said Timothy Betouge, age 70. The council is coming under international pressure to hand over power to civilians as soon as possible.
In a communique released last week (PDF), the African Union’s Peace and Security Council expressed “grave concern” about the military takeover.
It added it was “deeply concerned about the evolving situation in Chad and the potential threat to peace, security and stability”.
Meanwhile, France, the former colonial ruler, and some of Chad’s neighbours are pushing for a civilian-military solution.
Deby’s death came as Chad’s military battles a rebellion by a Libya-based group known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). The rebels came as close as 200-300km (125-185 miles) to N’Djamena before being pushed back by the army.
Chad’s military council rejected an offer from the rebels for peace talks on Sunday, calling them “outlaws” who needed to be tracked down and arrested for their role in Deby’s death. Source: Aljazeera